Sister Shelley

My Sister

Today is the first day of spring. Officially it’s supposed to arrive sometime late this afternoon. However, while the calendar may say that, sometimes spring doesn’t show up on the day it should.

I think today is one of those days with its cold rain and leaden skies.

However, what I can expect to happen today is my sister’s birthday. When she was born, I was 10 and thought I’d never be fortunate enough to have a sister. She arrived on a real spring-like day. I remember walking home from school with my girlfriend, like I always did, and we planned to jump rope since the temperature was great and we didn’t have any homework.

Instead of Mom greeting us, my grandmother was waiting and her news was I had a baby sister. Her name was Shelley.

Now my friend Jane was just as excited as I was since she had two brothers and I had three. We were surrounded by boys who delighted in teasing us and making our lives miserable. Or so we thought at the time.

Why a baby sister would be perfect! We could take her for walks, hold her, feed her, she’d be our ally against all those brothers. I guess we expected this baby to grow up fast for the last part of that dream. But she sure filled our desires in doing the walking, the holding, and the feeding. Because of our age difference, I was more a little mother to her, especially when my mom went back to work.

But I didn’t mind. Shelley was just the perfect baby—always agreeable and cute as could be. She had a hint of curl to her hair, a sweet smile once she learned that skill, and she rapidly found her place in our busy home.

One of the hints we got of how strong and stoic she could be, occurred when she was about 2. My dad’s family would always have a huge family reunion on a small semi-private beach at one of the large inland lakes. Lots of kids playing in the sand, adults catching up on news, food galore, a generally busy and hectic day. But that summer, Shelley, barefoot and toddling in the sand, stepped on hot coals covered with sand. Someone the night before had not used the firepits. Of course, Shelley’s little feet were horribly burned, and the rest of that day we spent either at the hospital learning of the burn damage or back at the beach worrying about our little sister. For several months she was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk. I carried her, my brothers carried her, we all kept her occupied with games or walks.

But Shelley was a trooper and rarely cried. She battled through it far better than most expected for such a little one. I knew then she’d be tough when she had to be.

Fast  forward through a few years. Shelley grew into a responsible, somewhat shy young girl who became the older sister/mother to my babies once I had them. Just as my mom depended on me to help her with my little sister Shelley, I depended on Shelley when I had my sons. It’s a debt I can never repay adequately. She always said when she grew up she wanted five boys; maybe helping me with my boys helped her—since she did ultimately have 5 sons.

I am so proud of Shelley, the little sister I always dreamed of having. She’s now grown: a strong woman, a grandmother, a special-ed teacher, a talented musician, a caring woman.

Is she perfect? No, she’s Shelley—that’s so much better. But she was born on the first day of spring. She is tender yet can be a force of nature—just like spring weather.

Spring may not always arrive when March 20th rolls around; however, Shelley’s birthday always will. I’m so glad she came into my life.

Breaking Through to Sun

And one day this past week, we hit 70 degrees lakeside. Almost all our snow is gone now. However, the exposed winter detritus stares at us on still-soggy lawns. Maybe next week will be dry enough for us to get out there and clean up. However, I walked over to the garden on Friday to see if any of my spring bulbs were poking their heads to the longer days of sunshine.

Yep—they were. If we get a few warm days next week, I may have cheerful daffodils and crocuses. I can’t wait to check. Let’s hope we soon she spring flowers. 🙂

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6 Comments on “Sister Shelley”

  1. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Happy Birthday, Shelley! And HELLO spring! I’ve been waiting for you to arrive. I’d like to say I’ve waited patiently but that would be a big fat lie. I’ve stomped my feet, shook my fist and even swore a time or two. (or three!) But now you’re here and I see the signs. I welcomed your thunderstorm with a mug of coffee and a smile on my face.

    Once again, great post, MJ!!!

  2. Deb Maher Says:

    My favorite signs of spring are the firsts – bird song in the morning, the rush of a warm breeze, and daffodils and crocuses poking their heads up through the soil. Living evidence that the world is coming back to life. What a delightful picture!

    Happy Birthday, Shelley! Hope you have a wonderful spring, and a wonderful celebration! Thanks for another lovely post, MJ! Happy Spring!!!

  3. caseyclifford Says:


    With the wind and the rain today along with the thunder and lightning, I KNOW spring is coming. And Shelley had a lovely birthday gathering and her DIL made the most glorious birthday cake. Glad you liked the post. 🙂

  4. caseyclifford Says:


    And I saw a robin on Wednesday–my first one this spring! So glad you enjoyed the post. I hope Shelley does. 🙂 I told her birthdays are important only to celebrate the day, not the years…

  5. Edie Ramer Says:

    Happy birthday, Shelley! It was my bil’s birthday, too. We had dinner with my in-laws tonight, a nice way to celebrate spring. And it managed not to rain too much during our drive there and back.

    Spring is my favorite season. I love going for walks again with my dogs. So do they. It invigorates all of us.

  6. caseyclifford Says:


    Shelley has a dog, Sadie, who likes walks also. Oreo does too but not in the rain or when it thunders. She hates thunder. What I like most about spring is the sense of renewal and growth. 🙂

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